Have patience! In this sudden smoke from hell,
So things disguise themselves,I cannot see
My own hand held thus broad before my face
And know it again. Answer you? Then that means
Tell over twice what I, the first time, told
Six months ago: twas here, I do believe,
Fronting you same three in this very room,
I stood and told you: yet now no one laughs,
Who then nay, dear my lords, but laugh you did, (10)
As good as laugh, what in a judge we style
Laughterno levity, nothing indecorous, lords!
Only,I think I apprehend the mood:
There was the blameless shrug, permissible smirk,
The pens pretence at play with the pursed mouth,
The titter stifled in the hollow palm
Which rubbed the eyebrow and caressed the nose,
When I first told my tale: they meant, you know,
The sly one, all this we are bound believe!
Well, he can say no other than what he says. (20)
We have been young, too,come, theres greater guilt!
Let him but decently disembroil himself,
Scramble from out the scrape nor move the mud,
We solid ones may risk a finger-stretch!
And now you sit as grave, stare as aghast
As if I were a phantom: now tisFriend,
Collect yourself!no laughing matter more
Counsel the Court in this extremity,
Tell us again!tell that, for telling which,
I got the jocular piece of punishment, (30)
Was sent to lounge a little in the place
Whence now of a sudden here you summon me
To take the intelligence from justyour lips
You, Judge Tommati, who then tittered most,
That she I helped eight months since to escape
Her husband, is retaken by the same,
Three days ago, if I have seized your sense,
(I being disallowed to interfere,
Meddle or make in a matter none of mine,
For you and law were guardians quite enough (40)
O the innocent, without a pert priests help)
And that he has butchered her accordingly,
As she foretold and as myself believed,
And, so foretelling and believing so,
We were punished, both of us, the merry way:
Therefore, tell once again the tale! For what?
Pompilia is only dying while I speak!
Why does the mirth hang fire and miss the smile?
My masters, theres an old book, you should con
For strange adventures, applicable yet, (50)
Tis stuffed with. Do you know that there was once
This thing: a multitude of worthy folk
Took recreation, watched a certain group
Of soldiery intent upon a game,
How first they wrangled, but soon fell to play,
Threw dice,the best diversion in the world.
A word in your ear,they are now casting lots,
Ay, with that gesture quaint and cry uncouth,
For the coat of One murdered an hour ago!
I am a priest,talk of what I have learned. (60)
Pompilia is bleeding out her life belike,
Gasping away the latest breath of all,
This minute, while I talknot while you laugh?
By way of explanation? Theres the fact!
It seems to fill the universe with sight
And sound,from the four corners of this earth
Tells itself over, to my sense at least.
But you may want it lower set i the scale,
Too vast, too close it clangs in the ear, perhaps; (70)
Youd stand back just to comprehend it more:
Well then, let me, the hollow rock, condense
The voice o the sea and wind, interpret you
The mystery of this murder. God above!
It is too paltry, such a transference
O the storms roar to the cranny of the stone!
This deed, you saw beginwhy does its end
Surprise you? Why should the event enforce
The lesson, we ourselves learned, she and I,
From the first o the fact, and taught you, all in vain? (80)
This Guido from whose throat you took my grasp,
Was this man to be favoured, now, or feared,
Let do his will, or have his will restrained,
In the relation with Pompilia?say!
Did any other man need interpose
Oh, though first comer, though as strange at the work
As fribble must be, coxcomb, fool thats near
To knave as, say, a priest who fears the world
Was he bound brave the peril, save the doomed,
Or go on, sing his snatch and pluck his flower, (90)
Keep the straight path and let the victim die?
I held so; you decided otherwise,
Saw no such peril, therefore no such need
To stop song, loosen flower, and leave path: Law,
Law was aware and watching, would suffice,
Wanted no priests intrusion, palpably
Pretence, too manifest a subterfuge!
Whereupon I, priest, coxcomb, fribble, and fool,
Ensconced me in my corner, thus rebuked,
A kind of culprit, over-zealous hound (100)
Kicked for his pains to kennel; I gave place,
To you, and let the law reign paramount:
I left Pompilia to your watch and ward,
And now you point methere and thus she lies!
Is it,you acknowledge, as it were, a use,
A profit in employing me?at length
I may conceivably help the august law?
I am free to break the blow, next hawk that swoops
On next dove, nor miss much of good repute? (110)
Or what if this your summons, after all,
Be but the form of mere release, no more,
Which turns the key and lets the captive go?
I have paid enough in person at Civita,
Am free,what more need I concern me with?
Thank you! I am rehabilitated then,
A very reputable priest. But she
The glory of life, the beauty of the world,
The splendour of heaven,
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